The European Union and India launched negotiations on a bilateral free trade and investment agreement in June 2007. However, between the governments, a number of controversies have been plaguing the talks. Delhi wants Brussels to relax its stringent food safety criteria which penalise Indian farm and fishery exports and to make it easier for Indian professionals to work in the EU. Europe is primarily out to win major openings of India’s services sector and broad liberalisation of foreign investment, while India does not want to discuss allowing European firms to compete in India’s government procurement market.
Indian social movements, including fisherfolk and labour unions, people living with HIV/AIDS and other health activists have been mobilizing against the FTA. International actions and campaigns have particularly targeted the proposed intellectual property provisions of the agreement, and the impact of the FTA on access to medicines.
last update: May 2012
Ahead of the three-day free trade negotiations between India and the European Union, starting on Tuesday, a campaign group led by trade unions and non-profit organizations have asked the government to halt the talks.
This report questions the much-touted benefits of opening up banking sector under the India-EU FTA. Are big European banks going to augment the reach of the banking system to millions of Indians citizens who have no access to basic banking services? What specialization and experience do European banks have when it comes to providing basic banking services to landless rural workers and urban poor dwellers? Will the India-EU FTA reduce the domestic regulatory space?
India’s trade negotiations with the 27-nation European Union, the country’s largest trade partner accounting for 21 percent of merchandise exports, are threatened to collapse because of the non-trade issues like human rights and democracy issues including investigations into the alleged “extra judicial killings” in Jammu and Kashmir injected in the talks.
Disappointed with the slow pace of negotiations, the European Parliament would like to see a Free Trade Agreement between the EU and India signed the end of 2010.
A draft report prepared by Members of the European Parliament could potentially derail negotiations between India and the European Union on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement involving duty-free trade of goods, services and investment. The report calls for the inclusion of human rights and democracy issues in the CEPA talks and an international investigation into “extra judicial killings” in Jammu & Kashmir.
India’s ambassador to the European Union Jaimini Bhagwati has expressed confidence that the 27-member European Union and India will reach a deal on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Former European Union trade commissioner Peter Mandelson has said that efforts should be made to implement the EU-India free trade agreement this year as it could help the two sides in overcoming challenges in a post-crisis world.
The government has sought help from Spain to conclude a comprehensive trade and investment pact with the European Union by the end of next year, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said today.
A group of Indian trade unionists, farmers, fishworkers and intelligentsia have criticised the secret negotiation which are underway between India and the European Union to strike a free trade agreement (FTA). They have demanded a halt to the ongoing negotiations till transparency is achieved in the process.
There is an outcry over the proposed India-EU free trade agreement, the contents of which are being ‘secretly’ negotiated by the two governments. Last week, an outfit called Forum on FTAs—a coalition of over 75 organisations including trade unions, farmer and fishermen groups and other civil society organisations—demanded that the talks be halted immediately.